E-cigarettes and oral health — what you need to know

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are electronic devices that produce an aerosol, often called vapor. Smoking them can be called “vaping.”

Many people believe that smokeless cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes as they contain no tobacco and have fewer harmful byproducts than burnt tobacco. Studies suggest that in addition to containing addiction-causing nicotine, e-cigarettes also promote dental disease, cause tissue inflammation, gum recession and damage comparable to that produced by regular cigarettes.1

According to the Centers for Disease Control and FDA, in 2016 20.2% of surveyed high school students and 7.2% of middle school students reported current tobacco product use, and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) were the most commonly used tobacco product among high (11.3%) and middle (4.3%) school students. Since 2011, there has been almost a ten-fold increase in use by high schoolers and an eight-fold increase in middle schoolers.2

Some have promoted e-cigarettes as a method to help people quit smoking, but so far there is only limited evidence to support their effectiveness at doing so.  Public health officials have expressed serious concern that e-cigarettes are actually introducing young people to nicotine addiction and regular cigarette use.

To protect your oral and general health, Delta Dental recommends avoiding tobacco use in any form.  Ask your physician or dentist if you need help quitting.


1 Sundar IK, Javed F, Romanos GE, Rahman I. Oncotarget. 2016 Oct 24. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.12857  E-cigarettes and flavorings induce inflammatory and pro-senescence responses in oral epithelial cells and periodontal fibroblasts

2 Tobacco Use Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2011–2016. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  June 16, 2017 / 66(23);597–603 

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